13-year-old gives emotional eulogy for dad killed in Iran plane crash

Ryan Pourjam said his father, Mansour, had been "through tragedy after tragedy, wall after wall, wrong turn after wrong turn, and he stood strong."

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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

A 13-year-old boy who lost his father when the Iranian government shot down a passenger jet last week remembered his father's strength and relentlessly upbeat attitude in his moving eulogy.

Ryan Pourjam spoke about the always-sunny disposition of his father, Mansour, 53, during a memorial at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, on Wednesday.

"I can't remember a single moment in my life where Mansour, my dad, had any trace of negativity in his voice or actions," Ryan said, in a heartbreaking video that was shared on Twitter. "He’d always tell me to stay positive through the dark times and through the good, when we'd get stuck in traffic or when I couldn't get the coffee that I wanted.

"I don’t want to talk about the bad things because I know that if my dad was alive and if someone else died in the crash and that he was right here giving a speech, he wouldn't talk about the bad stuff. I won’t."

Mansour was one of 176 passengers killed on Jan. 8 when Iran shot down Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 outside Tehran amid heightened tensions with the U.S. government after the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. The Iranian government has blamed "human error" for the tragedy.

Mansour, who grew up in Tehran and moved to Canada to attend Carleton University, worked at a dental clinic in Ottawa for the past 12 years, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

Ryan, his only child, said that the one word he would use to describe his father is "strong."

Ryan Pourjam, 13, is embraced by family friend Mahmoud Rastgou, after a ceremony honoring his father who died in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 in Tehran. Justin Tang / The Canadian Press via AP

"He’s been through tragedy after tragedy, wall after wall, wrong turn after wrong turn, and he stood strong," he said in his eulogy. "He was amazing, and we loved each other."

He repeatedly thanked the crowd at the memorial for the tribute to his father and Carleton University PhD student Fareed Arasteh, who was also killed in the crash.

"I stand up here a week after this horrible tragedy, and I still can’t believe it," he said. "I feel like I’m dreaming.

"But I know that if I was dreaming, and that if he woke me up, he'd tell me that it's gonna be OK. And I will be."